Micronics, Inc., announced that it has been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer grant totaling approximately $440,000 to develop a rapid method for nucleic acid detection of known and emerging respiratory infections. The grant advances the combined use of two novel platforms for molecular diagnosis of these pathogens at low level and in a point of care test format.

The grant entails a collaborative effort between researchers at Micronics and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI), in which a novel primer design method that enables detection of distantly related gene sequences will be used with Micronics’ microfluidic molecular diagnostic test platform. The PCR amplification method was developed by SCRI’s Dr. Timothy Rose and colleagues and involves a unique technology known as consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primer method, or CODEHOP.

CODEHOP makes it possible to target conserved sequences within a pathogen family in order to identify both known and unknown variants of a disease pathogen. Using CODEHOP-generated sequences, Micronics will develop an integrated, microfluidics-based system for detection of specific respiratory disease infections. Micronics’ platform reduces the volume of reagent and sample required to perform nucleic acid amplification and the overall cost and time to obtain a result. The combined platform will permit rapid, near patient diagnosis of a range of pathogenic respiratory viruses, including emerging respiratory viruses.

Grant funding for this effort is from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).